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I thought I was part of a family. Apparently I'm not.

(11 Posts)
RivalSibling Sun 17-Feb-13 10:01:37

Thanks everyone. I have thought about your replies, talked it through with a friend, and slept on it.

This stood out for me:
Now you need to take the next step and redefine your relationship with your mum based on the relationship you actually have

This is what I am going to bear in mind when she next gets in touch or if I write. I'm going to say I need some time to digest what I learned when we met.

I will be there if she needs practical help. I can't withdraw that from her. But I will wait for her to ask for it so that I know it is wanted.

Bubblegum78 Sat 16-Feb-13 18:59:35

Arithmeticulous; totally agree!

OP listen to Arithmeticulous. They are her family they can sort her out when the time comes.

She has been honest with you about who she is and what she expects, take that on board.

Communicate politely by letter and leave it at that. Direct your time and effort elsewhere, namely on yourself. Enjoy your life guilt free, you only get one shot at it, infact, book yourself a holiday!

You have a right to be upset, she falls into the same category of my Dad (he's the same); minimum effort, maximum result well sorry but love and trust have to be earnt they are not your by right.

You are right, she takes her family for granted (you) I think it's time you stopped running around after her on a daily basis, it won't be long before she starts to feel distinctly chilly.

Good luck. x

BarbarianMum Sat 16-Feb-13 18:49:33

<<The thing is that I think she takes it completely for granted that I will be there for her if she needs it.>>

It doesn't matter what she expects, it is your decision as to what support you can/want to give.

I think the anger you are feeling is long overdue. Much better than nagging hurt and sadness. Now you need to take the next step and redefine your relationship with your mum based on the relationship you actually have, rather than the one you want, or the one in her head.

Your real family is you and your children - and maybe one day their partners and children. Save your energies for them.

RivalSibling Sat 16-Feb-13 18:12:41

The thing is that I think she takes it completely for granted that I will be there for her if she needs it. I have always tried to do the right thing.

She has an insane arrogance that its all about her. For example, my stepfather was less than enthused about my brother, didn't have much respect for him (I am delighted to say he was quite fond of me and really looked after me when I needed help. Bless him!), but my mum used to say it was jealousy.

Arithmeticulous Sat 16-Feb-13 17:37:57

If they are her family, then surely they can pick up the pieces when she needs caring for?

Personally I would remain detached. She's told you who she is - listen.

BobbiFleckmann Sat 16-Feb-13 17:36:44

She seems to be quite deliberately giving you a free pass from dealing with her care going forward.

Doha Sat 16-Feb-13 17:31:10

She enjoyed the weekend with her family. That sentence alone speaks volumes. She obviously doesn't see you and your DB as being part of the wider family at all.
I would remains detached, respond by letter and take a step back from your mother. She sounds a very selfish person.

delilahlilah Sat 16-Feb-13 17:20:02

I don't think you're paranoid either. It's exhausting as you feel you should help them out, and then find they have excluded you from something again.

I just try to detach as best I can, and let them get on with it. It still hurts, but I just can't be arsed any more.

RivalSibling Sat 16-Feb-13 14:17:24

Thanks delilahlilah. You are right that I am the sort of person to just get on with it and pick up the pieces. The only thing stopping me picking up the phone now is that I am still angry and wouldn't know what to say without this being obvious. I think her letter is her way of saying 'lets forget it' without acknowledging anything is wrong. In her world, people run around after her.

I think the thing that has really shaken me is that the rest of the family seem quite happy to exclude me and my family (and my brother) as well. I don't think I'm being paranoid - this is not the first time by any means.

delilahlilah Sat 16-Feb-13 10:21:36

Hmmmm, difficult one OP. Like you, I am regularly left out of supposedly 'family' issues / occasions etc. I think the fact that she has written shows that she has noticed the lack of phone calls. I have no idea what to suggest now though. Knee jerk reaction is to let her get on with it, but I get the impression that you're like me, and end up dropping everything and doing as much as you can despite the fact you get kicked in the teeth for it.

I think, I would have to remain withdrawn, at least in the short term and maybe take the time to compose a return letter. Maybe ask her what she does want from you, try not to be confrontational and see if you can get some sense out of her. Also, with a letter it is harder for her to re-write history as often happens with a spoken conversation. She can return to your letter and read it again, hopefully it may give her some perspective, if it doesn't then it's probably better to distance yourself.

Please note this is based only on the above post, not the previous thread - haven't read that yet!

RivalSibling Sat 16-Feb-13 10:10:01

I've started a new thread because the title to the old one seems redundant but here is a link:

Well, where do I start? For those who don't want to read the whole of the last thread (don't blame you) the back story was that my mother is widowed, in her 80's, getting fragile. I have been trying to get things in place to prepare for a time when she will need more care/support. The problem explored in the last thread was that my mother is insisting that POA is shared equally between myself and my brother (we are the only children) but my brother and I don't get on and I find his judgement questionable so I am worried about what will happen if we have to share these legal powers.

What I didn't mention was that my mum is an identical twin, as this didn't seem relevant to the first thread. Twin is also a widow, also getting a bit fragile and lives about 70 miles from my mum, near one of her own daughters. They have four other siblings, all younger, living the other end of the country or abroad. I don't really know the twin at all - she lived a long way off and took no interest in me when I was a child, which is reasonable as she had loads of nieces and nephews near her. However, she is very proprietorial over my mother.

So, rolling forward... I call my mum every couple of days but have been really busy at work so unable to go and see her, but when the deadline was met I arranged to take a Friday off to visit her. Then she gets in a flap because she thinks it might clash with the trip she is making to my home city, for the whole weekend, to a family lunch with twin, twin's daughter & family, and one of my Uncles for said Uncle's wedding anniversary. Neither my brother or I were told about this, let alone invited. No mention of making time to see her grandchildren, even though they are here for a couple of days and staying in a hotel. Easy for us to pop in. My son turned 18 the week before, so there was something to celebrate.

I was upset. I feel that not only do I have no support from my brother, but weak links with the rest of the family. This would have been a nice opportunity to see people and perhaps share thoughts on how best to support the twins. But no. She didn't want to see me, and no-one else in the family party seemed to have suggested it either. Her excuse was that I would be busy with the children, who are all teenagers.

It brought up a lot of 'stuff'. I don't want to give a massive list, but it includes being told by my mum's twin not to phone the house or visit my mum when my step father was dying (2 years ago), being excluded from the trip to scatter my dad's ashes (25 years ago), not being invited to my mum's 60th birthday party (but my brother went). It goes on.

Ended up, to my shame, having a row with my mum when I went to see her. I tried to explain how excluded I felt, and that I feel I don't have much of a family, despite having lots of relatives. That she had a role in this, and had also driven a wedge between me and my brother.

She said (massively paraphrased) that because she is a twin and comes from a big family she doesn't have the same need for family as I seem to have. She clearly thinks I'm weak and needy for trying to have a better mother/daughter relationship, and that I'm lacking because I'm a single parent. She thinks we are all 'on our own' and after 18 children shouldn't expect anything from their parents. I couldn't get her to see that she has strong family support - she takes what she has completely for granted. (Because I grew up a long way from the wider family I don't actually know any of them very well). She also said she was her parents favourite child (so her self esteem is pretty high).

I would never tell my child they are all on their own - as long as I have breath in my body I expect to be there for my three!

So the killer blow - I told her that I had been very upset about my dads ashes. He died when I was 14 but the scattering took place six years later and she took my brother who was then about 22 with her. If she had suggested taking me and excluding my brother I would have said no, and ensured that we all did it together. I would give anything for an acknowledgement that I also had a right to be there, that it was MY DAD. She showed no regret. She said she'd do it again, even knowing how hurt I'd be.

She has given me no reason for any of this. I haven't had any guff about being a difficult child, or naughty (I wasn't). She said I was a good daughter. For those who are wondering, I do not have two heads.

Despite dutifully communicating with me all these years, having the children to stay when they were little, coming for Christmas, she just doesn't seem to have any maternal feeling. She would just as happily not see me, not include me in things. She finds affection awkward. It feels like all of this has just been politeness. The visit ended with me just leaving.

I haven't called her since. Weird for me as I usually call every other day. She has written to tell me she enjoyed her weekend with her family. And that she has been to see her specialist and she is going in for a full body scan. This isn't histrionics - its a long standing appointment and I knew already there were concerns.

So now what?

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